News / USA

    Obama, Congress Begin Contacts on Fiscal Challenge

    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    x
    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    U.S. President Barack Obama is back in Washington after his decisive election win over Republican Mitt Romney.  The most pressing issue for the president and Congress is avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the beginning of the new year.

    Obama already is taking steps to accomplish what he said in his speech in Chicago upon accepting a second term as president.

    On his way to a strong Electoral College and narrow popular vote defeat of Mitt Romney,  Obama said Americans voted for "action, not politics as usual," and said he is ready to get to work with Congress.

    "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together:  reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil.  We've got more work to do," said President Obama.

    President Obama telephoned Republican and Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, including Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

    A White House statement said he reiterated his commitment to "finding bipartisan solutions to reducing the deficit in a balanced way, cutting taxes for middle class families and small businesses, and create jobs."

    But compromises in Washington are difficult, and time is running short to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and mandatory spending cuts.  

    On Wednesday, Boehner voiced willingness to compromise on the contentious issue of new revenue, saying this could be accomplished through tax reform.

    Boehner signaled he is open to new negotiations on a broader agreement to solve the nation’s deficit and debt issues.

    "What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on and a catalyst for major solutions enacted in 2013 to begin to solve the problem," said Boehner.

    To receive Republican support, Boehner said  Obama would have to agree to reduce spending and address the need for changes in huge entitlement programs.

    On Wednesday, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, who would have to be part of any compromise, said the election sent an overriding message.

    "This was really the message the American people sent from all over and that is, they're tired of these partisan gridlocks," said Reid.

    Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution, says the president may have some openings to break through gridlock, but the overall atmosphere of polarization in the country has not changed.

    "Looking at the individual members of the respective coalitions of the parties and the intensity of the level of partisan voting, so we see no new coalitions emerging, no glimpse of anything on which you would try to build a consensus in Washington based on the behavior of the electorate," said Mann.

    With what he sees as his election mandate,  Obama is expected to step up consultations with Boehner and other congressional leaders on the approaching fiscal cliff.

    How Obama and the White House respond to Boehner's overtures will play out in coming days as negotiations on the fiscal cliff intensify.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora